Los Angeles boasts a long and colorful history that began centuries before the city became known as the entertainment capital of the world. Indeed, since around 38,000 BC, this land showed signs of life. That said, following are five of the best places to glean a sense of place and propriety in the Southland when learning about how the City of Angels came to be what it is in 2016.
532 S. Olive St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
In 1866, this downtown mainstay, then known as Los Angeles Town Square or La Plaza Abaja (The Lower Plaza), became a city owned park dedicated by Mayor Aguilar and pronounced usable by the general public. Established during World War II, the renovated space renamed for a World War I general was used much like Hyde Park is used: For anyone to publicly speak about whatever topic that person feels the need to express. The L.A. Conservancy holds walking tours of this downtown hot spot, spouting all kinds of historical information for anyone who wants to take part.
4 Westmoreland Place
Pasadena, CA 91103
Don’t miss the Gamble House in Pasadena as a way to get up close and personal with American Arts and Crafts style, a leading architectural trend in this part of the country. Branded a National Historic Landmark and built in the first decade of the 20th century, this masterpiece is an outstanding example by iconic architects Charles and Henry Greene, who created the house and all its furnishings for David and Mary Gamble of Procter & Gamble fame.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
If you and your kin are into the fossils and other leftover matter like animal bones in Los Angeles, this is the place to go. Indeed, more than 600 different animal and plant species can be studied in these tar pits and at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, giving visitors a chance to really get to know what happened tens of thousands of years ago in this place we call home.
Related: Best Museum Tours In Los Angeles
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel
428 S Mission Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
The fourth of nearly two dozen Spanish Missions in the Golden State, this historic landmark, consisting of eight acres and done in distinctive Moorish architecture, debuted in 1771 and is referred to as “the Godmother of the Pueblo of Los Angeles” and “Queen of the Missions.” A visit to this legendary post gives takers the chance to explore the lush grounds that contain copious gardens, a museum, a church which still offers Mass in 2016 and a cemetery. Historians will specifically appreciate the latter as many of the makers tell mini stories about the people who lived in Los Angeles over the years.
800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
In 1869, the first railroad to be built in Southern California connected downtown with San Pedro, a mere 21 miles away. But today, the entire nation is accessible by rail, with the starting point being the ornate Union Station, built in 1939 for the traveling public to use while waiting to start rolling along those tracks. And what a splendid place to take in this memorable outpost, a transportation hub like no other and equipped with the moniker, “Last of the Great Railway Stations.” A proud member of the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, Union Station is worth a visit, even if you’re not going anywhere, for the chance to soak up the dreamy streamline modern architecture that is one of the reasons so many connoisseurs consider this place a must-see when visiting the Southland.
Related: Best Historical Tours In Los Angeles